Book ID: CBB698438603

Common Phantoms: An American History of Psychic Science (2020)


Puglionesi, Alicia (Author)

Stanford University Press

Publication Date: 2020
Physical Details: 336
Language: English

Séances, clairvoyance, and telepathy captivated public imagination in the United States from the 1850s well into the twentieth century. Though skeptics dismissed these experiences as delusions, a new kind of investigator emerged to seek the science behind such phenomena. With new technologies like the telegraph collapsing the boundaries of time and space, an explanation seemed within reach. As Americans took up psychical experiments in their homes, the boundaries of the mind began to waver. Common Phantoms brings these experiments back to life while modeling a new approach to the history of psychology and the mind sciences. Drawing on previously untapped archives of participant-reported data, Alicia Puglionesi recounts how an eclectic group of investigators tried to capture the most elusive dimensions of human consciousness. A vast though flawed experiment in democratic science, psychical research gave participants valuable tools with which to study their experiences on their own terms. Academic psychology would ultimately disown this effort as both a scientific failure and a remnant of magical thinking, but its challenge to the limits of science, the mind, and the soul still reverberates today.

Reviewed By

Review Renaud Evrard (2022) Review of "Common Phantoms: An American History of Psychic Science". Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences (pp. 106-108). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Generali, Dario
Jason Schnittker
Pietro Terzi
Sease, Kasey Marie
Pareti, Germana
Trãni, Christophe
Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
History of the Human Sciences
Victorian Studies
Medicina nei Secoli - Arte e Scienza
Contemporary European History
British Journal for the History of Philosophy
University of Chicago Press
Fondazione Museo Storico del Trentino
New School University
University of California Press
The College of William and Mary
Science and society
Parapsychology; psychic phenomena
Experiments and experimentation
Occult sciences
James, William
Tupper, Earl
Ruben, Samuel
Redi, Francesco
Pflüger, Eduard Friedrich Wilhelm
Palladino, Eusapia
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
21st century
18th century
17th century
Early modern
United States
Great Britain
School of Milan

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